Category Archives: Personal Life and Reflections

CAULDRON COOKING

On Sunday I cooked lunch for the family as I usually do.

I made a chicken fajitas rice meal with peppers, oranges, corn, shredded cheese, and honey,  snap pea stir fry vegetables and water chestnuts cooked in olive oil, fresh strawberries, and sour cream. As was typical I used plenty of herbs and spices. Since we were out of white wine I drank green tea with ginseng and honey and had a cup of coffee (not shown).

Not the best lunch I’ve ever made but certainly quite good.

Strangely enough I have learned something new about cooking from playing Skyrim. I now cook the main course on Sunday in a mini-cauldron (I’m going to be getting an even larger cauldron for this very purpose) and thereafter we can eat leftovers for the next two to three days.

 

THE WATCHERS

Since my oldest daughter is home on break (from college) we went into town today to eat at O’Charleys. Took some pics of our adventure outside the restaurant.  Then afterwards went to see a movie. Had a ball with my posse. And got in some Monty Python type funny walks too.

I like my posse. Saw some awful weird things up in the sky though. And my oldest daughter saw something weird in my mouth. I think it kinda scared her. Lol!

THE PHILOSOPHICAL SPHERE AND THE COHERENCE OF THE UNIVERSE

THE PHILOSOPHICAL SPHERE AND THE COHERENCE OF THE UNIVERSE

 

I have been rather intensely studying the book Advanced Wizardry by Loricus ben Abechai since I first got it about a year or so ago. The book deals with actual “magic” and “wizardry” though, like me, he has a radically different idea of what both are compared to popular notions of the same. (He is, for instance, I strongly suspect, a Christian Khabbalist as he speaks often and loftily of “The Logos” and many other such mystical Christian terms, and Jewish terms, and relates them all to magic.)

Anyway in the sections I am now reading he has been speaking about the creation of the Wizard’s personal “Philosophical Sphere.” A notion I have never before encountered in any book of magic (certainly not as he means it) even a Medieval or ancient or neo-Platonic one. Though the idea is certainly based upon Jacob Bohme’s idea of the Philosophical Sphere. Now a blog is hardly the place to discuss such ideas or terms because they are quite complex and well beyond what is usually discussed here. And I had to read and re-read what he was saying over and again before it really sank in, the full implications, that is to say. For the man’s original language seems to be Spanish and even though the book is in English the translations are sometimes spotty at best.

But essentially I’ll summarize the idea as best I can:

The Philosophical Sphere is what results when the Wizard transforms or transmutes the Tree of Life into a Sphere whose circumference of immediate effect and power (dunamis) obviously extends about ten feet in diameter in all directions from the Wizard but whose real diameter is infinite and which encompasses everything and so it’s circumference is also eternal. In other words, and this is not exaggeration, the Wizard attempts to create a pocket universe in the form of a Sphere over which he exercises control similar to the way God exercises control over all of existence. This Sphere is not, however, anti-scientific at all, as ben Abechai stresses, because the Sphere cannot create matter or energy out of nothing. Rather it accelerates and interconnects the rate at which things move from Ideal Form or Thought-Form to actual matter and physical substance. What is Real and what Occurs is not altered in the sense of “creation” (only God can truly create) but rather the rate at which things “materialize” into useful (read Practical) and acceptable (read Good, or Beneficial, as opposed to bad or malignant) forms is altered and greatly sped up (or malignant processes can be slowed or possibly even stopped).

In others words things do not moves from Idea or Concept or Conception through the normal and complicated process of materialization to finally appear as either perceptible energy or useful matter, but rather move straight from Concept or Idea or “Logos” to “thing” (object, material). It is the process and speed that is altered by the Philosophical Sphere.

This is indeed a highly brilliant magical concept as it mimics, on the part of the Wizard, the method by which God creates, except of course that God can create literally from nothing whereas the Wizard cannot, but what the Wizard can do is alter the rate from Spiritual Concept to Physical Reality. As the very term implies there is a corresponding necessary set of actions and training required to study and employ the ways in which God behaves (to the Christian this would be “Imitating Christ”) for Philosophy itself means “Love of Wisdom.”

At first though I did not fully grasp what he was saying until he used the term “coherent” for how the Sphere works in conjunction with God, the Wizard, and the surrounding or “outer universe.” Then I realized that he literally meant “Co-Herent,” not as the term is typically used to mean integrity and orderly (though those meanings are also necessarily implied) but both “Inherent and Exherent – or explicit” and that the Sphere exists both within the Universe and within God and the Wizard simultaneously causing all three (points or positions) to fuse together as an inseparable element or Loci. (It just occured to me that the sphere is also a Loci for the Logos!)

Therefore the Sphere is “Coherent” just as it is “Coeval” in the way it can manipulate matter and energy and ben Abechai goes on even further to say that the sphere is in fact, in this sense, the only True or Real Universe (to the Wizard) even though it is a “pocket universe.”

(I am using a sci-fi term because modern men can easily get this idea whereas a “Coherent World or Universe separate from but essential to and within the outer world and in which God and the Wizard operate in tandem” is a term that would be more Medieval and Ancient in concept, and more accurate, as much as words can actually describe such concepts, but would not be easily understand by many modern men. Though I do not think ben Abechai means pocket universe as modern men understand the term, but as a truly independent universe or world within the mind and soul of the Wizard that is capable or transmuting and transforming, or rewriting the world in which all other things exist. The best parallel I can think of is The Kingdom of God idea expressed by Christ and I suspect ben Abechai may mean this precisely. Or something very closely parallel. An invisible but nonetheless very real “pocket universe” seeking to impinge it’s self upon the world around us. Though in actuality, as ben Abechai says, this would in fact be the “True Universe” seeking to supplant or replace the unreal or untrue one.)

The real trick is, of course, the Creation of a properly functioning and constructed Philosophical Sphere, no mean trick as it is literally a curved in upon itself or Spherically transformed Tree of Life.

But if it could be done then it could be an incredible, and incredibly useful feat. Ben Abechai calls this (the Sphere) the “Chief or Primary Tool or Instrument of the Wizard” upon which all the failure or success of his other operations and works as a Wizard entirely depend. So, once all of the necessary preparations and studies are made on my part I shall attempt the creation of my own Philosophical Sphere. (Though i very much suspect that I have been doing this for most of my life now, just maybe mostly sub-consciously in many ways, rather than fully consciously.)

As an example of what I mean another odd or coincidental thing (if you believe in coincidence) in my studies of this book is the fact that my personal motto is “Deus Ordere, et facere ego verite.” Meaning, God Orders and I make Real. (Well, that is the easiest and most common translation I use anyway).

I have had this motto for most of my life, though i only put it in this final form about two decades ago.

In any case I was looking through the suggested method ben Abechai recommends for the creation of my own Philosophical Sphere and ran across this declaration/statement, “In Nomine Tuo Ordo Deum Factum Lumine Est.”

Interesting, eh?

Well, I have other Work to do. I highly recommend ben Abechai’s book, Advanced Wizardry. It was expensive, and it had to be individually printed, but it is without doubt the very best single book on “magic” I have read to date.

Have a good day folks.

I WANT YOU…

Superb! I love Postmodern Jukebox…

DAY WITHOUT A FACE

DAY WITHOUT A FACE

Had a friend who said, “this is the face of evil.”

It also looks suspiciously like a polymerized death-mask. Or android skin grown from a synthetic iguana. I suspect if you cut into his face that rather than bleeding blood he’d slowly seep an embalming solution, turpentine, servo-fluid, or maybe a black Hydra ichor.

 

MENTENIS

“My father’s is taller still, and has a golden button on top!”
 
Always go for the golden button on top. That’s where all the good stuff is.
 
And on a more serious note, it is a real shame that modern man has lost so much of his rural festival and celebration backgrounds, those from both pagan and Christian times.
 
Those things used to hold us to the ground, made us realize things about time, made us grateful for things working. Losing those things weakens us, make us think that only technology and science is important. (And I do happen to like and to think most science and technology is important just not all-important.) Makes us think we are the inevitable and undisputed masters of our own fate (and nowadays we control much of our own fate, but much still is beyond our control and we should be reminded of that, and appreciative of that).
 
Most of all though we’ve lost our ties to our neighbors, to the seasons, to the Earth, and to our own blood. And I don’t mean this modern Nazi-era shit of resurgent, hyperzealous, omni-political tribe, race, clan, class, etc. but of our own blood, and bodies, and muscles, and of where we came from. As individuals.
 
We’re far too urbanized now. Too much like insects in nests and colonies. Too constricted and herded, and herdish. Too puny by ourselves and in nature. Which is where we truly thrive. Despite, or because of it’s hardships and dangers. You can’t become tough or strong in a sheltered, sterile world. Much less stay tough and strong in such a world.
 
Too weak to wander.
 
Two other things. Living so far from nature masks of animals might seem creepy I guess. To many moderns. They don’t to me though. They are not scary at all to me.
 
And yeah, I like the idea of throwing kids over fences. When I was a kid I got tossed over fences on numerous occasions. I thought it was grand.
 
I hated fences.

It’s February 23, Metenis Day. An ancient festival looks like the lovechild of Christmas and Halloween

Love Christmas and Halloween?  The ancient Latvian Spring waiting holiday of Meteņis or Meteni combines eerie and cheery.

Also called Lastavāgs, Aizgavēnis, Miesmetis, Buduļi Eve, and Pie Day, Metenis includes a masked parade, singing, dancing, feasting and drinking.

A Latvian spirit in charge of growing flax, Metenis was believed to arrive on a sleigh.

Now Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians celebrate by sledding, which they believe will make the flax grow longer.

The faster and longer the sled glides, the faster and higher the flax will grow.  Though a ride on a sled, a horse-drawn carriage, or even skating on a pond will do.

You might hear traditional sledding cries:

“My father has tall flax!”
“My father’s is taller!”
“My father’s is taller still, and has a golden button on top!”

Any journey is significant.  People used to walk from farm to farm to encourage the flax and (for some reason) throw children over the fence.

Some popular Meteņi traditions are: wearing masks, chasing away Metenis, searching for the button of happiness, driving away moles from gardens and cooking delicious Meteņi porridge.

To drive away Winter,  a symbolic dragon, straw dolls and logs are burned.  The ashes are spread across the land for a fruitful New Year.

Traditional Masks of Metenis

The most well-known masks are a crane, a bear, hay vāls, butthead, Wolf, Gypsy, the living dead and death.

  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day

Meteņi is about people eating and drinking as much as they want. During this time pigs were slaughtered, so the traditional holiday dishes are pig’s head and fritters. Parents throw gifts to their children from a height as if the goddess Laima is raining gifts from the heavens.

The Metenis table is loaded with treats – pea balls, beans, barley porridge, pancakes, smoked pork boiled into a porridge of barley and potatoes, pork head, pork ears and tail and bacon buns.

Round shaped scones symbolise the upcoming spring.  Beer used to be specially brewed for the celebrations.  Now you can probably enjoy some very nice craft beers.

If you want to celebrate Metenis Day today, be sure to eat pig, wear a mask and go on a journey.

Just remember – the longer Meteņis is celebrated, the better the harvest is expected following summer.

 

UTOPIA IS NOT ONLY CREEPY, IT IS ENTIRELY UNTRUE

Personally I think the actual truth lies somewhere in the middle between the hyper-life of the modern technologist and the future will be bleak anti-technologist. It depends almost entirely on not only what man invents but how he chooses to actually employ his inventions/technology. 

That being said I am a firm anti-Utopian. I do not believe in the human utopia (not socialistic, not economic, not technological or scientific, etc.) , either that it is possible, or desirable. It is a badly conceived, utterly juvenile and naive, and entirely impractical idea.

By the way, in listening to him, I can’t help but wonder if Nicholas Carr is not in some way related to Caleb Carr one of my favorite contemporary fiction writers.

 

Brett | February 7, 2017

Personal Development & Philosophy, Podcast

Podcast #276: Utopia is Creepy

A few weeks ago, I had futurist Kevin Kelly on the podcast to discuss the technological trends that are shaping our future. From driverless cars to artificial intelligence that will make new scientific discoveries, Kevin paints a fairly rosy picture of what’s to come.

My guest today sees a different side of the coin, and argues that the future envisioned by many in Silicon Valley is, well, kind of creepy.

His name is Nicholas Carr, and he’s the author of several books that critique the wide-eyed utopianism of technologists. In his book The Shallowshe reported on the research that shows how Google is making us dumber; in The Glass Cage he explored the science on why outsourcing our work and chores to computers and robots might actually make us miserable and unsatisfied in life; and in his latest book, Utopia is CreepyCarr pulls together all the essays he’s written over the years on how the rapid changes in technology we’ve seen in the past few decades might be robbing us of the very things that make us human.

Today on the show, Nicholas and I discuss why he thinks our utopian future is creepy, how the internet is making us dumber, and why doing mundane tasks that we otherwise would outsource to robots or computers is actually a source of satisfaction and human flourishing. We finish our discussion by outlining a middle path approach to technology — one that doesn’t reject it fully but simultaneously seeks to mitigate its potential downsides.

Show Highlights

  • Why the ideology that Silicon Valley is promoting and selling is bad for human flourishing
  • How the frictionless ideal of tech companies isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
  • Why is the idea of utopia so creepy?
  • Why don’t tech companies see that what they’re doing can be perceived as creepy?
  • The illusion of freedom and autonomy on the internet
  • What “digital sharecropping” is and why it exploits content creators
  • The myth of participation and the pleasures of being an audience member
  • Information gathering vs developing knowledge
  • Why Nicholas doesn’t use social media
  • The real danger that AI present humanity (and it’s not necessarily the singularity)
  • Is virtual reality going to catch on? Does it present any problems for society?
  • How can we opt out of the ideology that Silicon Valley is trying to sell?
  • How to ask questions of our technology

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

If you’re a bit leery of technology like myself, then you’ll definitely enjoy all of Nicholas’ books. Utopia Is Creepy gives you a big picture look at all of Nick’s ideas on the often overlooked downsides of our unquestioned adoption of digital technology. Pick up a copy on Amazon.

Connect With Nicholas Carr

Nicholas’ website

Nicholas’ blog, Rough Type

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

 

 

 

 

 

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